(CNN) – Smuggling gangs in Mexico have been able to break new sections of President Donald Trump's border wall in recent months, according to a new report from The Washington Post.
Citing US agents and officials with knowledge of the damage, the Post reported that smugglers have been using saws to cut steel and concrete parts of the wall, creating wide enough openings for people and drugs to smuggle.
Agents told the Post that saws can cut bollards in minutes. The engineers told the newspaper that due to the height of the bollards, which are between 5 and 9 meters high, it is easier to push the steel to pass to the other side.RELATED
Trump said he had not heard reports about cuts on the border wall, but added that "one can go through anything."
"We have a very powerful wall, but no matter how powerful, you can go through anything, to be fair," the president told reporters at the White House.
"But we have a lot of people watching," he continued. “Cutting is one thing, but it is easily fixed. One of the reasons we did it the way we did it is very easy to fix. You put the piece back. But we have a very powerful wall. But you can go through any wall. ”
Matthew Leas, spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, told CNN: “Any characterization that the wall is not working is ridiculous. The wall is working. ”
When a violation is detected on the wall, welding equipment is sent to fix the opening, the newspaper reported.
The smugglers also try to hide the gaps in the wall, returning the cut in the bollard to its original position or using a putty that makes it appear that the hole has been fixed, so they can continue using that opening, according to the Post.
But the agents told the newspaper that despite fixing and welding the damaged bollards, the smugglers still return to the same place because the metal and concrete in the bollard cores have already weakened.
The Post reported that part of the damage occurred in parts where electronic sensors that detect the sawing vibrations have not yet been installed.
Smugglers also deploy makeshift stairs to climb and overcome barriers in the San Diego area, and then use hooks to hang rope ladders on the other side, according to the Post.
A senior administration official told the Post that the number of infractions amounts to "some instances," but that the new fence had "significantly increased security and deterrence" along the San Diego border sections and Center.
Trump's campaign promise was to build the wall in the United States and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it. On a visit to a site in San Diego in September, Trump promoted the wall, saying it is "virtually impenetrable."
Until now, US taxpayers have been paying the bill for efforts to build new physical barriers on the southern border.
CNN's Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.